Tuesday, January 25, 2011

my favorite part of the March for Life...

I just returned from our youth group's pilgrimage to the March for Life.  More stories to come, after I wake up, but a quick breakdown of some of our numbers…  34 7th-12th graders, 12 adult chaperones (including two Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist), two of the best bus drivers ever , 25 hours on a bus (round trip), 300 hot hands, 150 granola bars, 50 sack lunches and about 18 hours of sleep spread out over four nights… 

It’s epic, really.

I've mentioned that I was initially reluctant to bring kids to the March for Life and am constantly surprised at what they gain from it and their enthusiasm to return.  My hope is always that they see it not just as a road-trip-adventure (which it is) but as a chance to commit to upholding the dignity of all humans from conception to natural death. 

The experience which confirmed this was before any of our actual March for Life activities took place.  We had just spent the morning touring the Holocaust, Smithsonians and Archives (and learning an important lessons about layering clothes in winter weather) and were herding the freezing, under-dressed youths onto the bus for the Life is Very Good Rally on Sunday night.

My only focus was counting heads, but one of my teens tugged my sweatshirt and said, “Miss Alison, there’s a guy out there digging through the trash.  Can I give him something to eat?”  She was right.  I hadn’t even seen him.  I knew that I had an extra sandwich, so I went to get it out of my bag.  No announcement, no request from me.  I turned around to dozens of kids (and observant adults) passing up their snacks.  By the time I returned to the front of the bus, my arms were full of Capri suns, peanut butter crackers, hand warmers and cookies.  Our driver accompanied the student who offered him the collection; he accepted everything but the beef jerky.  I don’t blame him.  

I had walked right by a man digging in a dumpster.  A 17 year old noticed.  I love youth ministry.

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